The PCC Elections May 5 2016
It seems like only yesterday that I started campaigning to become the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
In fact that was more than 4 years ago and now the next election is fast approaching. It will be held on 5 May, the same day that local elections will be held for a number but not all Essex local councils, including Southend and Thurrock. I hope – and expect – that there will be higher turnout in the PCC elections this time around.
The role of PCC matters, because policing matters to all of us and it is the PCC’s responsibility to ensure the Chief Constable does the very best he can to lead an efficient and effective police force that truly serves the communities from which the officers themselves are drawn.
I have often summarised this role as being both to challenge and to support the Chief Constable. What makes the PCC role unusual is that it is directly elected by everyone in Essex. I am responsible to everyone in Essex and am accountable to them for, in turn, holding the Chief Constable to account. The PCC also has important powers to raise local funding for Essex Police through the council tax.
One of the key differences between this form of accountability and the former Police Authority is that I answer directly to the people of Essex. I have tried to do this actively with many public meetings held across Essex during my tenure, by doing everything openly and transparently and by creating opportunities – especially the Essex Police Challenge event– for the public to put their questions directly to the Chief Constable. My final challenge meeting was held just last month and for those unable to attend a film of the event is viewable here. My drive for openness and transparency is also apparent in the information I have made available on my website, including up to date local and countywide crime figures and quarterly reports on Essex Police performance and conduct matters. The public of Essex have never had access to this type of information before about their police force.
I took the opportunity of being invited to give a lecture at Essex University last November to talk about ‘PCCs: What’s the Point?’ If you are interested to explore this you can read my lecture here on my Website. Then on Thursday 17 March this year at the kind invitation of Anglia Ruskin University I will be talking about ‘PCCs: the Future’. Why not come to this and discuss with me the exciting though challenging opportunities that will exist for all of us in Essex to take more responsibility for the safety of our communities?
I am not standing for a second term as PCC. This is entirely for personal reasons as I said last year. But I believe in the role as it is essential for: supporting and challenging Essex Police to be as efficient and effective as possible; in delivering real scrutiny of the force’s performance; in ensuring the voices of victims are heard and they are supported as they recover from crime; and most importantly in giving you, the people of Essex, a say in local policing. I would encourage everyone to take an interest in the PCC election campaign, to find out more about the role and most importantly on 5 May, to turn out and vote.